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Label: Moon Records

Date: January 8th, 2024

Don’t be fooled by the date above. In this case, it’s not the time. This is the thirtieth anniversary reissue of this early example of doomy death metal from behind the iron curtain. Of course, the curtain fell couple of years before “… It’s Time…” was released, but the example of Symphony Of Death, as well as their contemporaries from the early 1990s, stands as proof that the whole scene was just waiting to erupt as the wall was cracking.

The album itself summarizes everything that the eastern European scene had to offer at that exact age. I’m avoiding the exact placement of Symphony Of Death on purpose here. They came from Silesia, southwestern Poland, but as the region itself, took parts of what was similarly teeming Czech extreme metal scene. Namely, their brand of doom / death metal mostly reminisces of inputs by early Czech masters. Most likely, they were even in close contact with Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy, who came in a bit later and probably even heard this recording at the time of its initial release. Even Root or Avenger are not far from Symphony Of Death’s atmospheric approach. I’m speculating here, but there’s a similarity in style that is undeniable. Particularly so when it comes to somewhat provocative experimentation that is so typical of Czech scene.

When I say “experimentation”, don’t you dare think of some overly progressive, meandrous swivel of styles or genres. I’m thinking of a curious way to portray a fairly straight-forward type of music that came from the English originators, My Dying Bride or Cathedral. Naivety might be the word everybody might jump to. And they won’t be too wrong, because one can definitely notice that Symphony Of Death was a bit lacking in the creative department. Though they did make the songs catchy enough, they used the well-known tools to do so. Their chord-oriented handling of death metal is very old school. Primeval even, originating from the early days of Possessed and Obituary. On the other hand, doom metal elements are crafted from the harmonious entanglement of lead guitar and keyboards complementing each other.  Still, it was all very much on the basic level, showing just a desire to move away from the genre’s norm.

Clearly, Symphony Of Death’s craftsmanship was highly inspired elsewhere and what “…It’s Time” showcases is the inability to correctly mimic their heroes. With that, the Polish sextet (as well as many of their eastern contemporaries) unintentionally grabbed a hold on what is to become a recognizable sound for the extreme metal scene of the region.

And let me tell you one more thing, I quite enjoy Symphony Of Death. Apart of being catchy and just about quirky enough, their songs do carry enough emotional drama, but also aggression that is most often turned towards the overwhelming power of Polish Catholic church. However “heard before” this album may sound, it is still convincing enough to give it a fair chance.

Another sign of eastern origin is the dreadfully incorrect spelling and pronunciation of English language. Yet, it hides somewhat behind the growl of late Mr. Tomasz Rzepka, in whose memory was this CD issued. Best way to describe his tone is to think of one and only Mr. John Tardy from the early days of Obituary. Incomprehensible, but firm and confident, laden on top of a Symphony Of Death backdrop, he is the ingredient that confirms what I already mentioned above.

Basically, these guys had potential for much more than just this one album after which they disbanded. However, a sign of new life comes with the three bonus tracks, recorded just last year. Okay, one of them is the “part two” of a song from the original album and its follower is an introduction, but there’s one more that is brand new. Mr. Rzepka’s successor to the microphone, Mr. Sebastian Garbas (initially only on guitar duty), is not that good of a choice, since his spewing style seems out of place for the music that only slightly evolved from the band’s roots. The band struggles with production as well, since the drums sound way too artificial and the overall impact is that of a slightly out of order sonic landscape. Still, on a purely creative side of things, Symphony Of Death seems much better organized, skilled and obviously matured in terms of songs’ flow. I’m tempted to bring Death into the ensemble of Poles’ influences, mostly because the guitars have progressed towards that territory. Still, we’re dealing with the similarly styled death / doom metal as before, only executed with less vigorous anxiety and more thought to what needs to be done.

In this regard, “Waiting for a Miracle” (minus the voice, I really need much more in that aspect) should definitely leave us waiting for a miracle of resurrection of this old act. I for one, would very much appreciate it!

 

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